Scud Mountain Boys Reunite

Scud Mountain Boys publicity P
Sub Pop

The seminal 90s alt-country band will hit the road for a series of dates in 2012. Singer Joe Pernice tells THR how it came to be.

Nineties nostalgia is back big time, with several seminal albums of the decade already celebrating milestone anniversaries (Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten) and plenty more in the wings. Among them: influential alt-country band the Scud Mountain Boys, who formed in Massachusetts in 1991.

The foursome will reunite in 2012 for a series of live dates, the band announced today.

Singer Joe Pernice's Dorchester, Mass.-based label Ashmont Records will also re-release the Scuds’ 1997 double CD The Early Year, originally issued by Sub Pop, which includes their first two albums Dance the Night Away (1995) and Massachusetts (1996).

Revered for melding country sounds with melodies clearly influenced by 70s AM radio, Scuds’ legend told of late-night recording sessions around the kitchen table -- an attempt to capture the musical magic without the constrictions of a traditional studio. The resulting warm, breathy sound was best demonstrated on songs like “Knievel,” “Silo” and “Penthouse in the Woods” along with several covers, including Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman,” Olivia Newton-John’s “Please, Mister Please,” and Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”

The group disbanded abruptly -- and somewhat acrimoniously -- in the fall of 1997. Pernice went on to form critically acclaimed indie band Pernice Brothers with his brother Bob. (Full disclosure: Pernice Brothers producer Thom Monahan is married to THR’s music editor.) He and bandmates Stephen Desaulniers (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, and bass), Bruce Tull (electric guitar, lap steel, pedal steel) and Tom Shea (drums, mandolin) became estranged, but finally reconnected in Cambridge, Mass. this August. Soon thereafter, Desaulniers and Shea joined Joe and Bob Pernice onstage at the Lizard Lounge

Pernice tells The Hollywood Reporter that, prior to the reunion, he and his bandmates "hadn't spoken a single word between us in 14 years," but after the recent death of a mutual friend, who also happened to be the Scuds' biggest fan, he pulled out some of their recordings and was inspired to contact his old friends. 

"I left the band so I had to make the extension," he says. "I grabbed my nuts and gave them a call... All the bullshit kind of disappeared." With a solo show scheduled for Boston on August 25, Pernice then invited his former bandmates to sit in. "I picked, like, eight songs, and Tom [Shea] got in touch with Stephen, who was a little reluctant. I told him, 'I’m gonna set up a bass rig, if you want to show up and play, I love it, if not, I understand,' and he showed up. We had some time to shoot the breeze before the show, we had some laughs and cleared the air. Then we did eight songs and it was like we never stopped playing."

Pernice adds that plans are afoot for other re-releases and recordings, but nothing solid to report as of yet. See a full list of live dates (the tour is booked by Billions) below:

Scud Mountain Boys Tour Dates

Friday, Jan. 13, 2012
Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY

Saturday Jan. 14
Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA

Sunday, Jan. 15
Pearl Street Clubroom

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012
Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012
The Black Cat, Washington, DC